Members of Iowa agriculture sector are finding hope in the tentative trade deal announced between the United States and China.
President Donald Trump says China has agreed to buy between 40 and 50 billion dollars in U.S. agriculture products, if the deal goes through. Iowa State University economics professor Wendong Zhang says that’s significantly more than any single-year of U.S. exports to the Asian giant.
But it’s not clear whether the new number reflects an annual promise. “The Chinese probably left more wiggle room-there’s a really big number but there’s no timeframe tied to it,” he says. Zhang says tariffs that could have been imposed this week will not go into effect. That’s some relief, but now farmers and others will wait to see whether the threat of December tariffs is also lifted.
Zhang welcomes what he calls important first steps as the two sides each still angle to come out ahead. “The trade war has been elevated so much, I think in the end both countries need to find a way, that, in some respects, both leaders need to go back and say we won the trade war, somehow,” Zhang says.
Zhang says a shallow agreement on big issues like technology transfer and intellectual property protections is likely. But significant increases in Chinese imports of U.S. corn, ethanol and beef could also be part of the deal.
(Thanks to Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio)